Monday, October 06, 2014

Agenbite of Inwit

The odyssey is finally over.

The sheer comedy of the first chapter,
The confidence I felt after reading the second chapter that I could read this book after all,
The mist and mud that I footslogged during the third chapter, which after finishing taught me the pleasure of going into the mind of the characters,
Meeting the deeply satisfied Mr. Bloom and walking with him during his not-so-exciting morning routine, which ends with him defecating delightfully in the fourth chapter,
Walking through Dublin during a jolly summer day and feeling every bit of it in the fifth chapter,
Reflecting about death and life in the sixth chapter,
Feeling the rush and the pace of modern publishing in the seventh chapter,
Tasting that gorgonzola sandwich with Bloom in the eighth chapter,
Listening to the exciting Shakespeare theory of Stephen in the ninth chapter,
Feeling like the holy ghost and visiting the minds of the people of Dublin in the tenth chapter,
Listening to the music and sounds of a full restaurant in the eleventh chapter,
Understanding sources of Bloom's feeling of rejection in the twelfth chapter,
Wandering cautiously into the female mind and the naughty parts of the male mind in the thirteenth chapter,
Trying to make progress in the linguistic puzzle of the fourteenth chapter,
Getting my mind literally blown of in the best chapter of the book, the fifteenth,
Getting a rest in the sixteenth chapter,
Laughing as loud as I can in the seventeenth chapter,
And falling asleep with Penelope and affirming all sides of life with a yes and yes and yesin the eighteenth chapter,

are experiences that I will never forget. I haven't had this kind of experience since Martin Eden in my high school years, The Island of the Day Before in my university years, Kafka and Dostoyevsky of PHD years.

I am planning to read the book again with the annotations:

http://www.amazon.de/Ulysses-Annotated-Notes-James-Joyces/dp/0520253973

and recommend everyone not to be intimidated by what they read about Ulysses and read this magnificent book with the help of this accompaniment:

http://www.amazon.de/The-New-Bloomsday-Book-International/dp/0415138582

Finally, I will let Stephen Fry do the rest of the convincing for me:

Beşiktaş'lı(*) Duruşu

Anne tarafından memleketim Balıkesir'in futbolunu ve taraftarını çok beğendim. Ersan'ın verilmeyen kırmızısı için eminim her Beşiktaşlı'nın aklından kırmızı olsaydı da galibiyetimize leke sürülmeseydi geçti.

Biliç de bizden biriydi:

http://www.ligtv.com.tr/haber/kesinlikle-kirmizi-kart

"Red, red, red. No doubt red."

(*) Beşiktaş'lı duruşu demem, Beşiktaş'lı olarak bu hissi yaşamamdandır. Aslında burda gösterilen duruş sporseverlik, centilmenlik, adaletten yana olma duruşudur. * yerine tüm takımları koyabilmek lazım.

Bir de bu var:

http://www.birgun.net/news/view/carsidan-kobane-mesaji/6760

Bu IŞID vebası ile savaşan Kürt yiğitlere selam olsun.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Deciding to grow up with Leonard Cohen

Today Leonard Cohen celebrates his 80. birthday. I have to thank my sister for introducing him to me and the man himself for making me an adult.

I can remember clearly that rainy September evening in my Berlin apartment where I was aimlessly playing God of War on Playstation and listening to "The Songs of Love and Hate" on the side. A struck of luck meant I had the mental energy to concentrate on the lyrics of "Dress Rehearsal Rag" during one of those loading screens.



It is a violent attack on the vanity of a young man (or a woman). There I was, wasting my time on a silly game, and the life outside was flowing continuously, not caring about me. I had to do something.

After a trip to Amsterdam, I took the decision to give a thrust to my PhD. But this rush also had its toll on me, I was very very anxious about where to start and how to go ahead. Fortunately, Cohen came to my help again. In the 2006 Berlinale I had the luck to attend the premiere of "I'm Your Man", which introduced me to his Zen Buddhist side. I learned to wait for light to go through my cracks before I could shine on anything.



Finally, during a year long hiatus in our relation with my wife, I couldn't have preserved my persistence on our relationship without the song "If It Be Your Will":



If you are familiar with Leonard Cohen, I hope you do celebrate his birthday by getting to know his music beyond "Dance Me To The End Of Love", which is a fine piece of music, but one that does not offer a full glimpse of the size of the Leondard Cohen universe.

Here are my previous posts about The Man:

http://actoker.blogspot.com.tr/search/label/leonard%20cohen

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Declare Independence!


I have not hidden the fact that I LOVE Scotland:

http://actoker.blogspot.com.tr/search/label/scotland

Reading Ulysses, which is set just before Irish home rule, all the independence process feels very familiar. I hope Scotland's story ends similar to Ireland. 

Just like Björk says for Grönland:

Declare independence!
Don't let them do that to you!
Declare independence!
Don't let them do that to you!

Damn colonists
Ignore their patronizing
Tear off their blindfolds
Open their eyes

DECLARE INDEPENDENCE!





Saturday, August 30, 2014

Path-altering Songs

I've been fascinated by the Zen belief that most important decisions are to be made within 7 breaths. Of course this rich historical Philosophy is not urging us to rush our decisions. Rather, what it contends is that our first reaction to important decisions, which happen in 7 breaths, are usually the ones that we make and spend the rest of our long decision process for convincing ourselves of. This is not some magic happening in our brains, or attributing some metaphysical importance to our instincts. The decision that we make in the first seven breaths are actually the manifestation of our long time thoughts that have been "boiling" for a long time. 

What I have experienced in the last few years is that songs or everything related to songs are excellent facilitators of becoming aware of such decisions that we have made but not were aware of. When I think of few important decisions I've taken in the last few years are all associated with a song that made everything clear all of a sudden.

I decided to become a vegetarian (ultimately a vegan) after listening to Meat is Murder by The Smiths for the first time, one late summer night at our Levent apartment:



Heifer whines could be human cries
closer comes the screaming knife
this beautiful creature must die
this beautiful creature must die
a death for no reason
and death for no reason is MURDER

I decided that I wanted to live my life with someone worth living it with, and I had to work for it by listening to First Day of My Life by Bright Eyes one late summer afternoon by the lake in Berlin:



So if you want to be with me
With these things there’s no telling
We just have to wait and see
But I’d rather be working for a paycheck
Than waiting to win the lottery
Besides maybe this time is different
I mean I really think you like me

I decided that I have to let my ego go to enjoy my relationship with my wife after I listened to Kommst du mit in den Alltag by Jetzt! (this is a almost as good Blumfeld version):



Death to the consequences,
Long live tenderness!

I have decided to value fairnesss and kindness in all my relations after listening to I Know It's Over by The Smiths (this is a painfully good Jeff Buckley version):



It's so easy to laugh
It's so easy to hate
It takes guts to be gentle and kind

Finally, I've come to accept my deamons as a developer and product architect after reading these words by my long-time prophet Lou Reed, poetic but not in a song form:

“It simply requires a very secure ego to allow yourself to be loved for what you do rather than who you are, and an even larger one to realize you are what you do. The singer has a soul but feels he isn’t loved off stage. Or, perhaps worse, feels he shines only on stage and off is wilted, a shell as common as the garden gardenia. But we are all common as snowflakes, aren’t we?”

(source: http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/lou-reed-gardenia-and-snowflake)

I felt I had to write these feelings down after reading about a great interpretation of Wittgenstein's work in the Prospect Magazine:

“People nowadays,” Wittgenstein writes in Culture and Value, “think that scientists exist to instruct them, poets, musicians, etc. to give them pleasure. The idea that these have something to teach them-that does not occur to them.”

(source: http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/regulars/ray-monk-wittgenstein )
   

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Road To Peace

Let us be very clear about one thing: POLITICS KILLS. The entire Israeli political apparatus lied to the public for 18 days about the three yeshiva boys who were killed brutally by a Hamas split-up. Those in charge knew from the start that the boys were dead, but kept on the search in order to build public support for the brutal invasion of the largest Ghetto in the world, the Gaza Strip. (Source: http://forward.com/articles/201764/how-politics-and-lies-triggered-an-unintended-war/?p=all )

The pictures and the reports coming from Gaza are brutal, heart breaking and making me lose any confidence that I still might have for the international peace keeping efforts. Pounding a population who has no where else to go does not fall short of a war crime.

Furthermore these pictures does not help Israel's security and the well-being of its citizens at all. As a supporter of Isreal's lawful existence in the region, this hurts me even more.

In the end, nothings changed since Tom Waits wrote the song Road to Peace (lyrics: http://www.lyricsmania.com/road_to_peace_lyrics_tom_waits.html)

 


"The fundamentalist killing on both sides is standing in the path of peace
But tell me why are we arming the Israeli army with guns and tanks and bullets?"

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Maradona es mas Grande que Pele!


It will be a tough game for me. On the one side the country I love without an aparrent reason ever since childhood. On the other my Wahlheimat for 5 years. In the end I will not be sad, but for sure I'll be thrilled if Messi gets the final trophy he's been after...

PS: Here is a better version of Argentinian fans singing the same chant on Copacabana





Saturday, July 12, 2014

My Teenage Kicks


The legendary radio producer, record collector and promoter of modern music John Peel loved Northern Irish Punk Band Undertones anthem-of-a-song Teenage Kicks (link to the video: http://youtu.be/wAtUw6lxcis) so much that he had it inscribed on his tombstone.

I really do not know or care if I want a tombstone, but if I do, this song should be on it:


Seriously, there is hardly any other song that fills my veins with so much pure elan.